Postpartum Nutrition for Breastfeeding Mothers

After giving birth, it is a good time to consider your new nutritional needs. This is a time where the quality of your food intake can greatly affect your mood, energy, parenting and experience. This is not the time to crash diet and sugar highs and lows can cause mood swings in a very delicate time in your life. 

The breastfeeding mother’s nutrition recommendations:

·      Breastfeeding mothers should drink to satisfy thirst, and no less than 8 glasses of water a day. It is not necessary to force fluids unless you are consistently drinking less than the minimum suggested glasses of water a day.  

·      In general, you should eat to satisfy hunger and nutritional needs. That is usually the best rule of thumb for a breastfeeding mother’s diet. You may feel hungrier during growth spurts, and you should listen to your body if this happens.

·      Counting calories is usually not necessary unless you are having drastic weight retaining issues. That being said, it is usually understood that breastfeeding mothers need to take in an extra 300-500 calories a day, which is usually what you were consuming during pregnancy. Dr. Sears does recommend not to count calories, but rather to examine the nutritional quality of the food you eat.

·      You should examine your activity level (very active vs. sedentary), body type and the needs of your infant.


A balanced diet while breastfeeding could resemble something like this:

·      Fresh vegetables and fruit, in season if possible, eaten raw or cooked

·      Protein rich foods from animal sources (meat, eggs, fish) and/or plant sources (lentils and beans)

·      Various grains (wheat, brown rice, barley, millet), preferably whole

·      Small quantities of fats


Dr. Sears’ Most Recommend Foods for Breastfeeding Mothers

Avocado, Chickpeas, Eggs, Fish, Flaxseeds and flax oil, Kidney beans, Lentils, Sweet potatoes, Firm tofu, Tomatoes, Whole grains, Yogurt, Almonds, Artichokes, Broccoli, Cantaloupe, Orange, Papaya, Peanut butter, Pink grapefruit, Soy nuts, Spinach, Sunflower seeds, Turkey


Articles and Books of interest:

The Breastfeeding Book by Nurse Sears and Dr. Sears

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

The Nursing Mother’s Companion